September 6, 2009

Cajeta and Coconut Tres Leches Cake

This was a birthday present to a dear friend. It may seem odd, gifting food which won't last past the day it is given---but, what is better? It may be easier to grab a book or something, but that doesn't require the investment of hours of your time. And it is definitely not as satisfying as producing something with your own hands. I like to give food because it is thoughtful and personal and won't clutter up a person's house after you are done. Besides, if all goes according to plan, the memory of your gift will probably last longer than some trinket anyway.

This cake came together as a cross between techniques from my Dona Tomas cookbook, multiple online resources and my own tweaking.

The Cake
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  1. Line a round cake pan with a piece of parchment, then grease the paper and sides of the pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and both extracts. Beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing until well combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Turn the cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Remove paper.
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • A rounded 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  1. Put the milk, sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk occasionally to prevent boiling over.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in water. Rapidly whisk the baking soda mixture into the saucepan, removing it from the heat if it looks like it will spill over.
  3. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the mixture has cooked down and turned dark brown and thick.
  4. Remove from heat and pass through a fine-mesh strainer.
The Sauce and Fillings
  • 1 1/2 pints strawberries, sliced (reserve a few unsliced for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cajeta (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 quart heaving whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Shredded coconut as needed
  1. In a bowl, toss the strawberries with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the cajeta, condensed milk, 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and coconut milk. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. In another separate bowl, use an electric mixer on high to whip the 1 quart whipping cream to medium peaks. Add both extracts and the powdered sugar towards the end of the whipping process.
The Assembly
  1. Slice the cake in half crosswise with a long serrated knife. Place the bottom half on the serving plate. On a separate plate, place the top half of the cake with the cut side up. Using a tablespoon, spoon half of the milk mixture over the bottom of the cake, letting it soak in evenly and completely. (This may take awhile. I used a toothpick to prick little holes throughout the cake so the sauce would soak into the cake more readily.)
  2. Using half of the remaining milk mixture, soak the top half of the cake.
  3. Spread a 1/8 inch layer of the whipping cream evenly over the bottom half of the cake. Sprinkle a good layer of shredded coconut over the whipped cream. Arrange a layer of the strawberries on top. Sprinkle with more coconut.
  4. Cover with another layer of whipped cream, coconut, strawberries and more coconut.
  5. Finish with another thin layer of whipped cream. Carefully place the top half of the cake on top of the last whipped cream layer, cut side down.
  6. Soak the very top of the cake with the remaining milk mixture. (I had some left over, which I drizzled over the slices of cake.)
  7. Cover the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream, spreading evenly over the top and sides. Sprinkle cake with shredded coconut and decorate with whole or sliced strawberries on top.
  8. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. (Refrigerate any leftovers.)
* The cake part of this recipe can be substituted with any white cake that is spongy enough to soak up the milk, but strong enough to hold up and not become too soggy. I've read online that boxed white cake mix works well and cuts down on the time involved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment!